One of the reasons I hesitated was that Sedona wasa desert. According to the Eastern practice of fengshui, a harmony of the five energies—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—is essential.
Certainly, wood energy was coming from the forestsof juniper trees and shrubs; there was obviously plenty offire energy since it was a desert where the sun beat down strongly; judging by the power pouring from the ground of Sedona, nothing needed to be said about earth energy; and since it was iron that gave to the earth its deep red color, it was also full of metal energy. However, since it was a desert terrain where water was scarce, the thought that water energy might be insufficient kept bothering me.
I went back to Los Angeles and returned to Sedona aftera few days. It was then I saw something that blew away all my concerns—Oak Creek Canyon, where the creek flowed right alongside the highway going up from Sedona to Flagstaff. During my first visit I couldn’t see it closely, but there was clear water flowing abundantly through the canyon. I realized then that Sedona had the necessary amount of water energy, too. With this in mind, I found a desire to make a new startin Sedona where, although it was desert terrain, the energy of the five elements were harmonized so well. And I startedto feel certain that, in a place like this, I could establish the meditation center of which I had dreamed.
It took me a few more days to look around the Native American reservations and nearby famous locations in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. I also visited Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and the canyons of Zion National Park. All of them were places that had not only been regarded as sacred by Native Americans, but also displayed the beauty and dignity of nature without restraint. I was also pleased with the fact that Sedona was not too far from many of these places. Having resolved upon my second visit to move there, I now rented a modest place that I could use as a home and office.
As I drove back to Los Angeles to prepare for mymove, I had a premonition that something good was going to happen, and I felt a nervous excitement. I kept repeating the name of the land, “Sedona,” over and over in my mind. Se-do-na.
Se-do-na. Se. . . do. . . na. Then, all of a sudden, a thought came to my mind: Se-do-na, a place where a new Tao or enlightenment would emerge. Viewing these syllables in Korean, Se sounds like sae and means “new”; do means “Tao” or “enlightenment”; and na means “is coming out.” If you put the three parts together, then Sedona means “the land where a new enlightenment will emerge.”
From that point onward, every time I pronounced Sedona’s name, every time I told other people about Sedona,and every time I practiced meditation in Sedona, I started to believe that a new enlightenment would arise from this place. That was my belief and it was also my profound hope. And this is how my Sedona story began.
A LAND OF YEARNINGS AND DREAMS
Every land has a sacred mountain or a place of wonder where people gather, drawn by the extraordinary energy there. Sedona is no different. I have traveled to many sacred places around the world, including those in India, Nepal, Israel, South America, and Europe, but I have yet to encounter a place that draws the heart as does Sedona. This is already the fifteenth year that I’ve been living here, but the red rocks and sunsets that I see here still move my heart in a continually fresh way.
Sedona is a small city in the center of Arizona, a state located in the desert of the southwestern United States. It’s about two hours by car from the Grand Canyon and about 120 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona’s capital. It’s often referred to as “red rock country” because of its monumental landscape of red rock. As you enter the city, you’ll see why locals like to say, “God created the Grand Canyon, but He lives in Sedona.”
One might assume that Sedona is a place of swelteringheat because of its desert location, but in fact there are four beautiful seasons. In the spring, the dry fields are blanketed with wildflowers. In the fall, the leaves turn and flood the Oak Creek Canyon with orange and golden yellow foliage. Winter is equally beautiful in Sedona. The sight of fluffy white snow piling softly on the red rocks is exquisite; and when the snow stops falling and the sun comes out, the red rocks, green cacti, and blue sky radiate their own dazzling light. When you see such sights, you understand why people call Sedona “The City of Light,” and you find yourself nodding your head in agreement.